Digital Dimension Entertainment, 1999
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/21/1999
Chances are, if you live in the United States, you've never heard of PC69 - or, as their official name is, Pink Cream 69. If you see their album Electrified in the stores, you might assume it's a debut effort. Wrong; it's the American debut of possibly Europe's best kept secret. (Across the pond, the band might be best known as Andi Deris's former group; he's now known as the lead singer for Helloween.)
PC69 is a melting pot of cultures, featuring a band that has one American, one Briton, one German and one Greek. Musically, their style is magnificent, and Electrified - with one major slip - is one of the most enjoyable albums I've heard in a long time.
The band - guitarist Alfred Koffler, vocalist David Readman, bassist Dennis Ward and drummer Kosta Zafiriou - are very much a hard rock band, but not one that capitalizes on the lessons learned by numerous bands from the '80s nor one that lamely plows through the material in the name of all things grunge. No, this is a band that knows how to write a powerful song with enough lyrical and melodical catches to reel in even Tipper Gore to the side of barre-chord rock.
From the opening chords of "Shame," PC69 win the listener over. Readman's vocals are incredibly powerful without dipping into the hystrionics that some might connect with this type of music. Koffler's guitar work - both rhythm and leads - is stimulating to the listener, becoming technical without ever being pompous. Ward and Zafiriou are an excellent rhythmic anchor for this band, with Zafiriou's trap work standing out often.
Electrified is jam-packed with songs that would make any program director drool with delight. "Losing My Faith," "Break The Silence," "Stranger In Time" and the title track all stand out among the album's best work - not to say that the remainder of the album is weak, 'cause it isn't. To be blunt, this is the kind of music that American radio and music lovers have been waiting to hear for a long time.
PC69 even handles ballads well; the album's closer, "Gone Again," is a touching track that seems like the perfect way to end the album... that is, until about 90 seconds pass, and the song kicks in again. This time, instead of hearing Readman's longing for the love he lost, the vocal is delivered in a swaggering, Cockney accent. This completely ruins the mood - as well as the song - for me, and never should have been released on the disc. It's one thing to play around in private; it's another to release it to the general public. (C'mon, didn't we learn anything from the Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee home porno tape? Some things are best kept in private.)
Had it not been for that one mistake, Electrified would have been a perfect album. Even so, this disc is crammed with songs that are going to make a believer out of you that rock and roll is not dead. Here's hoping that Electrified brings PC69 success on this side of the ocean - success the band quickly proves it deserves. Here's also hoping that we'll soon see the release of the band's other discs in America.